On Wednesday, The Colbert Report took a hard look at the possibility of a cyberattack brought on by mobile devices. Host Stephen Colbert asked counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke about the possibility of a Stuxnet-type attack being perpetrated via an iPad. Clarke replied, "A small group of talented people using iPads could take down a whole nation."
Holding up an iPad, Clarke added, "Using this device, a hacker could, in theory, get into the electric power grid control somewhere and shut the lights out." He then enumerated other ways hackers could terrorize the United States, including the stock market, gas pipelines and train systems.
Colbert, however, seemed to have a different idea.
Using stock footage and new video from the Toronto Zoo, Colbert laid out the more ridiculous of scenarios: Orangutans launching a cyberattack via the Apps for Apes program. Colbert interviewed Richard Zimmerman, executive director of Orangutan Outreach, the organization responsible for the program, calling him a cyberterrorist and "head of a shadowy organization putting cyberweapons into the hands of those who hate us for our freedoms."
However, Zimmerman said that he has "faith that the orangutans will use the technology wisely."
The segment used footage from the 1968 classic Charlton Heston film Planet of the Apes to make Colbert's (ridiculous) point, including scenes of Heston getting hosed down and the famous climactic ending wherein he realized that, indeed, he was on Earth the entire time. In the film, Dr. Zaius is the sage religious orangutan leader of the ape society and main antagonist (he calls mankind "a menace. A walking pestilence.").
According to Colbert, though, it may be time to watch our backs for Dr. Zaius and company.